The Mighty Ducks Turns 20: Then And Now

Gangsta rap, this is all your fault. Criminy, it’s like headwear bingo up there.

It’s been twenty years since we learned to quack. In that span of time, our Ducks have flown far and wide. Now we have this opportunity to check in on Gordon, Charlie, Hans, Jack, Averman, Goldberg, Jesse, the other one, the short one, the guy from that other movie, and all those other unforgettable characters.

The career trajectories varied as much as their crazy hats in that picture above (Guy Germaine, what the hell is on your head?). Some actors rose to fame making out with Tom Cruise’s ex-wife, and others had to settle for making out with Paula Abdul. Follow me past the jump for a trip in the wayback machine.

Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay

Estevez was 30 when he made Ducks and already a veteran of the big screen. An alumnus of star factory The Outsiders and the son of The West Wing‘s Martin Sheen, Estevez hit it big in the mid-80s with The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. Like other Brat Packers, Estevez’s career dried up for a bit before he found second life in the Ducks series.

Today Estevez is a presence behind the camera, directing 2006’s soggy historical drama Bobby and a bunch of those hourlong shows on CBS that people apparently watch in large numbers but I can’t ever remember seeing one.

Fun fact: Emilio Estevez dated Paula Abdul. Who won that breakup?

Joshua Jackson as Charlie Conway

The Mighty Ducks was Joshua Jackson’s first big role. Charlie Conway was the team’s moral center and he had one stunning head of hair.

Jackson suffered the ravages of puberty in the public eye and emerged relatively unscathed. He was a participant in that awful run of ingenue movies in the late 90s like Urban Legend, Cruel Intentions, and The Skulls, but Jackson made his biggest mark as Pacey Whitter with Dawson’s Creek, a coming-of-age drama on The WB (it came on after Buffy, natch). After the Creek dried up, Jackson starred on FOX’s Fringe, which sounds like the kind of show I should be watching. Anyone?

Fun fact: Joey + Pacey  = Jocey. Chad Michael Murray sucks.

Lane Smith as Jack Reilly

1992 was a big year for character actor Lane Smith. On paper Jack Reilly was a dull character, but Smith imbued him charm and dignity. That same year, Smith portrayed Mr. Trotter in My Cousin Vinny, which is probably on TV right now if you look for it. Smith also played Perry White on Lois and Clark.

Sadly, Smith died of ALS, which is a sonofabitch of a disease, in 2005. Johns Hopkins has a great research facility for ALS if you’d like to learn more or get involved.

Fun fact: YouTube is awesome.

Joss Ackland as Hans

Hans is somehow both Gordon Bombay’s latent conscience and the pre-eminent hockey profiteer of Minneapolis.

Joss Ackland is a Shakespearean actor with over two zillion credits to his name. Him acting with Emilio Estevez was like Fred Astaire dancing with me at Grand Central in Adams Morgan. I have no earthly idea how he ended up in The Mighty Ducks, but my gut says gambling debt. Ackland did not appear in the sequel, but he did show up in D3, which I still have not seen.

Fun fact: Ackland was the bad guy in the Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.

Heidi Kling as Casey Conway

Charlie Conway’s mom was, I think, supposed to be Gordon Bombay’s love interest, although what attracted her to that morally bankrupt jackass baffles me. No matter, as the romance plot abruptly fell off in the sequel, in which Kling played Sir Not Appearing in This Film. IMDB tells me that she was in D3, but again: have not seen it. I’d like to imagine she and Bombay settled down and started raising little Bombardiers together. Kling has not acted since 1999. I hope she still has those curls. Hot.

Fun fact: There is literally nothing fun about Charlie’s mom.

Shaun Weiss as Greg Goldberg

Fart jokes, people. We’ve got fart jokes. Shaun Weiss played Goldberg, District 5’s flatulent goalie who keeps telling us he was about to move back to Philly but never did. Weiss appeared in the Ducks sequels, even though he got pulled at the end of D2 so Cat could get the big save. Weiss went on to star in Heavy Weights, and then he lost a whole bunch of weight himself. TMZ tells me he’s a New Jersey Devils fan, and if I can get Kim Kardashian in this sentence it’ll officially be the trashiest thing ever posted on this blog.

Fun fact: Shaun did this American Psycho send-up and it’s quite troubling.

M.C. Gainey as Lewis

Gordon Bombay’s limousine-cum-conversion-van driver (it’s like Horatio Alger in reverse!), M.C. Gainey didn’t have all that much to do in The Mighty Ducks. That’s okay, because since Ducks he’s had the market cornered on bad ass characters with a Deep South drawl. He played Tom Friendly (spoiler: not so friendly) on Lost, and he’s a bike gang leader on Justified, which is totes on my DVR waiting to be watched.

Fun fact: He had this coming after talking Walt off the raft at the end of the first season.

Matt Doherty as Lester Averman

Averman had no apparent athletic talent and didn’t have Guy Germaine’s quiet intensity, so he compensated with crass jokes he cribbed off Saturday Night Live. Matt Doherty kinda fell off my radar after Ducks, but the dude is in Argo now, so he’s going to be buried in Oscar statues soon.

Fun fact: Rob Schneider shoulda sued.

Brandon Quintin Adams as Jesse Hall

I’ve no idea what “cake-eater” means, but I think it’s a dig on rich people– because they, ya know, eat cake. Jesse competed for the much-contested Team Bad Ass role, but I don’t think he won (see below). Unlike his seemingly mute brother Terry, Jesse actually made it to the sequel. Since then, Adams has done some stints on sitcoms like Moesha; Sister, Sister; and Boy Meets World (which is totally overrated– there, I said it).

Fun fact: Marie Antoinette never said “let them eat cake.” When she learned of France’s bread famine, she actually said:

It is quite certain that in seeing the people who treat us so well despite their own misfortune, we are more obliged than ever to work hard for their happiness. The king seems to understand this truth; as for myself, I know that in my whole life (even if I live for a hundred years) I shall never forget the day of the coronation.

And the rest!

  • Garette Ratliff Henson as Guy Germaine. Some people over look Guy Germaine, but I think he’s the one of the best characters in the Ducks legendarium. He was the first to score under the Bombay regime, he had a sort of Alex Semin vibe to him, and he was totally macking on Connie. It looks like Henson took a step away from acting after Ducks, but he did do an episode of NCIS, which stars the guy from Summer School!
  • J.D. Daniels as Peter Mark. “Pete” was the team’s real bad ass. Somewhere south of five feet tall, leather jacket, all attitude. Daniels took over the tube in the 90s. He was on Full House, The Nanny, and Gargoyles. And then puberty. And then silence.
  • Elden Henson as Fulton Reed. I feel bad stuffing the team’s hard-hitting enforcer this low on the list. He’s actually a local (Rockville, baby!) and an accomplished actor since the movie came out. Henson has done tons of guest spots, he was awesome in the mean-spirited The Butterfly Effect, and has over sixty billion roles to his name.
  • John Beasley as Mr. Hall. Beasley played Jesse and Terry’s dad, who gave up overtime to watch his boys cheat. Beasley is on Treme now, but you might know him as Token Black Guy on the Treat Everwood beard documentary that the WB promoted as Everwood.
  • Danny Tamberelli as Tommy Duncan. It’s Pete! From Pete & Pete! Hey Sandy! No one knows what Danny’s been doing since he left All That!

Did I miss anyone? Yes.

Yes, I did.

Your turn: Who was your favorite Duck and what do you think Charlie and Jesse and Guy are doing today?

UPDATE 5PM: It has come to my attention that Vincent Larusso, who played Adam Banks in the Ducks trilogy, was in the first episode of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse on Fox. Obviously, I deeply regret missing this and I apologize to everyone I let down. This is a grievous mistake and I’ll do whatever I can to make sure it NEVER happens again.

Tagged with:
  • I’ll start: my favorite duck is Guy Germaine. He gets to cuddle with Connie at the end of D2. He’s the nice quiet one, like Jonathan from NKOTB.

  • Dear GOD. What happened to Goldberg?!?!?!

  • The late nineties happened

  • I GOOFED UP. Brandon Adams (“Jesse”) was the pitcher in the Sandlot. HOW DID I MISS THAT.

  • Danny Tamberelli actually has a band now that he tours the country with. They’re alright, but he uses his “fame” to ask for insanely high guarantees that you would never pay that band otherwise.

  • No way. LINK ME.

  • David R

    Actually Danny Tamberelli is still around. He recently did an IAMA on Reddit, which can be found here:

  • Stack the Pads blog

    This kind of post makes me realize that I am a fan of the sport as a whole. What NHL lockout? I had this to read today and I loved it!
    Great stuff. Thanks for posting this.
    I think every kid who played youth hockey had players on their team that reminded them of the different characters in Mighty Ducks.

  • Nick Frye

    I may catch flack for this but my favorite Duck is Adam Banks (what, he can’t be a real Duck because he was a Hawk first?!) who is glaringly missing from this list. He is the character that went through the most growth and development over the film, next to Gordon Bombay, eventually having his hatred overcome by the overwhelming heart of the Ducks. Adam Banks is to The Mighty Ducks as Darth Vader is to Star Wars. A villain who finds redemption through love.

  • Clint Petty

    Danny Tamberelli is in a rock band called Jounce: They recently played a local music festival down near Harrisonburg, VA that I was at. He’s totally approachable and will talk to anyone as long as you don’t call him Pete or ask to see his “Petunia” tattoo (doesn’t exist in real-life)

  • Screw you, Nick. Banks is left off the list cause that guy is NOT an actor.

  • H-burg!

  • Chris

    Hey shouldn’t it be Dave/Lester Averman? D1 He was “Dave” & D2 he was “Lester”.

  • I’m aware of the distinction but there are things even I don’t care about

  • Tommy Duncan’s figure-skating sister. Come on, now…

  • D

    Great work, though I now feel old. I saw Mighty Ducks in the theatre on a date. Wow.

    Emilio Estevez didn’t just date Paula Abdul — they were married for 2 yrs.

    Buzzfeed also recapped what the former Ducks are up to now and for D2

  • brian!

    The guys who played Adam and Goldberg did a meet at greet at the (now closed) Caravan hockey warehouse in Maryland. It had to have been about a year after the film premiered, they were still kids. The store had a bunch of framed pictures of them signing stuff, and sitting behind a card table looking bored. I wish I had those photos.

  • Pingback: The Mighty Ducks Turns 20: Connie, Just Connie()

  • Moira Donohue

    So great to read this post–in the absence of hockey, my son dug up the Mighty Ducks movies a couple of weeks ago. And we both got the Semin vibe from Guy Germaine too!

  • Thanks, Moira! P.S. Can’t wait to read your story this weekend!

  • whoa gross

  • does nothing for me

  • even though shes not in part one in this trilogy movie. julie “the cat” gaffney is one of my bet. shes sweet yet so tough. i really miss the ducks..

  • how i wish they have a movie reunion this days. D4: The Ducks Reunion.! cant wait for this to happen..